Roughly half of residential property owners have submitted Empty Home Tax declarations with just over a month before the Feb. 4 deadline.
Residential property owners must submit declarations annually or face having their properties deemed vacant and be subject to the empty homes tax, which sits at one per cent of the property’s 2018 assessed taxable value, as well as a $250 penalty. Payment is due by April 12, 2019 or a five per cent penalty can be applied.
As of Jan. 7, 94,685 property owners had submitted declarations.
The City of Vancouver revealed late last year that the expected revenue collected from the first year of the tax would be higher than anticipated. The city predicted it would generate $30 million, but revised that figure to $38 million. About $21 million had been collected by late November 2018. Part of the funds are being used for implementation and operating costs ($10 million), while the rest is dedicated for affordable housing initiatives, $8 million of which has already been allocated.
The city says that most properties won’t be subject to the Empty Homes Tax, including when a property is used as a principal residence by the owner, his/her family member or friend, or other permitted occupier for at least six months of the year; the home is rented for residential purposes for at least six months of the year in periods of 30 or more consecutive days; or if the property meets the criteria for one of the eight exemptions.
While the objective of the Empty Homes Tax was to return empty or under-utilized properties for use as long-term rental homes for people who live and work in Vancouver, the city acknowledged in its first empty homes tax report that measuring the success of the tax is difficult.
However, staff will continue to monitor the impact of the tax on housing supply and affordability, including the empty homes tax property status declarations data year over year.
Empty Homes Tax declarations can be submitted online here or in person at city hall.
Staff are available to assist homeowners with online declarations at city hall. Regular hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Property owners can also declare by calling 311 between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily (outside Vancouver: 604-873-7000) and speaking to a citizen service representative. Translation services are also available.
Property owners can receive technical and information support for submitting their online declaration at any Vancouver Public Library location. For opening hours and locations click here.